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Reader Thoughts: Hoops Takes, and Why Do You Post About OU?



I got a pair of gems this week in my inbox. Thanks to those of you who take the time to write in, share your thoughts and participate in the conversation. Hope the rest of you enjoy what they had to say.

Reader Email No. 1

This email might be a little lengthier than others. However, The Masters is over, and OSU is out of their two major sports. In the words of Ben Simmons: “you have plenty of time.”

Big 12 showed out in the dance. Not only from a results standpoint of having three teams in the Elite Eight. I watched all the Big 12 Sweet Sixteen games against Clemson, Villanova, Kentucky, and Purdue. Every Big 12 team looked like they were the athletically superior team. There are some dogs in this conference.

Speaking of dogs, Zhaire Smith could be the closest thing to Markel Brown we ever see.

Cam McGriff is going to turn into the player we dreamed Le’Bryan Nash would become.

What hurt Averette was his inability to shoot the three. He’s good at penetrating the lane, but when his defender doesn’t have to respect the deep ball there’s no need to press up on him.

I’m glad Shine and Sima didn’t return. Aside from Mike Cunningham, the entire 2018-2019 team could return and springboard a fantastic 2019-2020 season.

I full heartedly believe in Boynton’s ability to recruit. I also think Boynton will resonate with parents. He appears to be a man of good faith, has a strong family, and works hard at his profession. Wouldn’t you want to send your children to a school where they’ll be mentored by a guy like Boynton?

My friend from Seattle says that a lot of people are excited about Tre Flowers. Why? They like his size, but I don’t think he’s that good. Hopefully he listens to me, because last year he thought I was off my rocker when I said Chris Carson was going to be their starter.

Went on ESPN and read the comments under the article about Big Ben not being enthused about Rudolph. It was HILARIOUS to see some Steelers fans say Dobbs was better than Rudolph.

Prediction: Duncan Demuth is going to turn into Connor Lammert. Is that good?

Prediction: Yor Anei is going to be Taveion Hollingsworth. I think they’ll be similar in the sense that both are being highly overlooked in their own state. KU is bringing in a monster recruiting class (much like Kentucky) and Anei is going to surprise. You heard it here first!

Lastly I’m glad N’Guessan isn’t transferring. He probably won’t play, but there are probably other factors that are keeping him in Stillwater. Things like having a girlfriend, good friends, his major, and liking his teammates could all be the reasons he’s staying. It’s refreshing to see a student athlete not constantly chase minutes and I admire N’Guessan for his commitment.

That’s all I have, enjoy your summer!
Grant M.

There is a lot going on here, but I always enjoy hearing from Grant. He has good (and interesting) takes, and is well-informed. More Grants!

Reader Email No. 2

Whether you realize it or not, recent content within the Pistols Firing website is causing a fracturing within your readership. I know you choose not to read the comments section of most if not all of the articles printed, but at this point it is blatantly obvious: articles pertaining to the University of Oklahoma are not always being well-received.

At some point, and this is just my opinion, you will need to determine how fiscally responsible it is to continue to print articles giving publicity to the U of O and the athletic programs belonging to such. There are some readers who will not donate money to continue to help operate a website that clearly refuses to ask itself “Does this truly pertain to OSU Cowboy/Cowgirl athletics?”

Example: Baker going No. 1 to Cleveland. Two articles published on PFB. I get the whole “Let’s poke fun at it” concept, but it was unnecessary. One, the actual event. The second, the social media reaction. Neither of which I felt needed to be written/published. My logic: you’ve always stated if it affects OSU, its fair game.

Well, Baker Mayfield will never play another down for the Sooners. He will never again affect the Pokes in Bedlam, the Big 12 race, or a spot in the playoffs. Therefore, where Baker went in the draft, the team he went to, none of that matters to Oklahoma State fans/alumni/readers of the blog. It was a horrible look to use the time and resources in that manner. And for those who say, “Just don’t click on it”, guess what? The image still must be scrolled past to get to other items. The image of Baker Mayfield in a Sooner or Browns uniform should never again be seen on your website. Period.

Example: An article pertaining to Gundy honoring Stoops by dressing in different attire and creating a video for U of O use. Gundy never should have agreed to partake in this. You don’t take time from your own schedule to help honor a man who is responsible for your Achilles heel in coaching. Stoops owned Gundy. That simple. For the first time in his 13 years as head coach at Oklahoma Stafe, I was truly embarassed by Gundy as representative. The fact that this article was published, complete with video footage was an embarrassment. Why would PFB choose to publish an article of this substance? I can’t understand the logic, and I’m not alone in this thinking.

Example: OU wrestling article. The title was “Why Is OU Behind the Curve” in wrestling? The content centered around Sooner fan apathy toward a sport which Oklahoma State dominates them in. In what universe is this reasonable to print? I can promise you that most OSU fans, alumni, administration, coaching staff and team members don’t give a second thought toward OU improving in wrestling. How does this benefit OSU? It doesn’t. In any way, shape or form. OU improving would only make recruiting tougher. It would make conference and national championships more difficult to obtain. What is good about that? Nothing.

I would like to close with this: I am respectfully asking that the entire staff be more conscientious of the content that is published. For Oklahoma State fans, PFB is the only website of its kind in terms of design, structure, amount of content, and interaction. We love this site, are so grateful for the work the staff does, and look forward to many years of success. Please continue to focus on making it the best it can be without using OU as one of your launching pads to greater financial gain.

Travis B.

First of all, these are really good and fully considered takes. I appreciate them because they are well reasoned, well said and not just hastily shot out into the #content universe because you didn’t like a tweet or a one-liner from something I wrote. They consider a trend over a long period of time and are worth addressing, which I will do.

Baker was tough for us. Characters make storytelling, and blogging is storytelling through a humorous, interesting prism. You could reasonably argue that he was the greatest character in OU/OSU sports history. I think your point is a valid one, but I also think it’s fair for us to poke at him in the way that we have. We certainly aren’t celebrating his post-OU career! And we won’t be posting any Baker updates with the Browns unless they’re of the “wow, he went 1-22 for 8 yards and threw 7 INTs against the Bengals” variety.

I have to respectfully say that your Gundy take is a bad one. I think you start to understand this more when you’re inside of it like Gundy is, but rivalries are for fans. They’re fun and enjoyable and we should treat them as such. But they don’t supersede relationship and friendship among colleagues.

As for the OU wrestling article, I mean, it’s tough for us to write a more pro-Oklahoma State post than that one. The question was, “wait, why does OU suck at wrestling?” and the conclusion became, “maybe because their fans are, somewhat ironically, obsessed with other sports and it’s hurting wrestling so let’s make fun of them for that (in a friendly way of course).” I’m having a difficult time seeing the issue there.

As for why OSU would want OU to improve, I think it’s pretty easy to find example after example of how when your primary competitor improves in a given industry, you are pushed toward improvement, too. I don’t know that it’s a fundamental pillar of business, but it’s up there. We are incentivized to be better when CRFF writes something or does something well. We are not incentivized if they fold up shop. That’s just how it goes.

Lastly, and this is a broader point that I have thought about as it relates to blogging and content-ing, I like for us to write about interesting things that may only amuse us. I know that sounds and feels self-serving (and maybe it is), but PFB was built as a place that tried to not take itself too seriously and one of the overflows of that posture is that sometimes you’re going to get stuff that is amusing or interesting only to yourself.

William Zinsser has a great note in On Writing Well about how writing is so rote and tough that sometimes you have to include lines or words or even paragraphs or blog posts that are for you and not for anyone else. Is that a great business model? Probably not, but part of being a good business is giving your people freedom to play with their craft out in public and to explore different thoughts and ideas. If you’re so regimented in the way you write or run your site that it strips your people of all the joy they have of writing and thinking then at some point you’re not going to have much left.

So sometimes we riff on Baker and make jokes about his career not because we think it will play well on the internet but because it’s fun for us to do so. It amuses us. It amuses me. One of the constant tropes I’ve heard about PFB is that it feels like watching a conversation with your buddies. We’ve gone away from that to an extent, but it’s still part of the fabric of the site. And I talk about Baker or other OU stuff with my OSU friends. I know not all OSU fans are built that way, but I am, and I don’t want to lose that idea that this site is a looking glass into our conversations and jokes, even at the expense of a few people who maybe don’t always like that OU is a big topic in OSU’s world.

Reader Email No. 3

Ok, this one was a comment, but it’s worth addressing.

The biggest mistake you made and continue to make is not reading the comments. What you are telling your readers is they are not important to you. Are you afraid of internet trolls? If so grow some thicker skin. The comments are often as good as the content and I have no problem stopping when I see troll response. At the very least don’t advertise not caring. -Tom G.

The comments have gotten better and more interesting over the years. I think the reason I try to stay away from them is that it can be a time suck in the same way Twitter is a time suck. I’m scheduled to interview Spencer Sanders this afternoon. That took time to plan out and write up questions for and schedule and coordinate. If I’m drowning in the comments, that’s time I, by definition, can’t spend on other stuff. So it’s not that I don’t value what readers think or say (thus this post!), it’s more of a function of time for me.

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